Thanksgiving is almost here. Though the holidays have become harder for me since death and relational loss have occurred in my family, I love this holiday. Thanksgiving recalibrates and refreshes my heart. The fourth Thursday of November reminds me of one of the most important dynamics that runs through the universe, and my heart.
Most of us have busy homes and hearts as we head into this Thursday. In the busyness, there is one thing for us to remember this Thanksgiving: We deserve nothing! To put it in other words: Everything we have is a gift, a thing to be thankful for.
Two thousand years ago a pastor named Paul wrote to a church increasingly struggling with the enemy of gratitude (entitlement), penning this searching question: “What do you have that you did not receive?” -1 Corinthians 4:7.
The answer to this question for the ancient Corinthians and for us is a big fat “nothing”! You and I have nothing that we did not receive. Your eyesight, the oxygen in your lungs, tonight’s shiny stars, the roof over your head, your quirky friend, that memory that makes you smile, a relationship with God, and this morning’s coffee are all gifts of grace given to you by God. Without God’s common and saving grace, you would have none of this: eyesight, oxygen, stars, roof, friendship, good memories, salvation, coffee. Wow! Grace is everywhere. Can you see it?
Beware of the ever-present enemy of Thanksgiving: Entitlement. Beware of a worldview centered on what you’ve earned and deserved (which produces prideful, ungrateful people), rather than the Christian worldview which centers on what you’ve received and been graced (which produces humble, grateful, joyful people).
What do you have that you did not receive? Nothing! All is grace. So, let’s give thanks tomorrow, and right now.
And…don’t miss this: Let’s express our gratitude not generically, but directly and specifically to the living God, the author of all our graces.